Vitamin D and Asthma

Researchers have long recognized that maternal Vitamin D levels during pregnancy can end up having an impact on the baby's respiratory system after birth. But whether the Vitamin D and asthma link also exists in later childhood has been more of a mystery.

To answer this pressing question, researchers with ties to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston looked at a group of more than 600 youngsters between the ages of 6 and 14 living in Costa Rica. Their hope was to better understand if any connection exists between participants' asthma severity and their levels of Vitamin D.

The Findings

Interestingly enough, the scientists did confirm that the Vitamin D and asthma connection existed among study participants. In addition, the lower the level of Vitamin D, the more severe the asthma symptoms seemed to be.

To make these conclusions, researchers measured Vitamin D levels and looked at certain asthma and allergy markers.  The findings revealed that those youngsters who had low Vitamin D levels had a variety of disadvantages over their counterparts with higher Vitamin D amounts.

Please review the following list to learn more about the factors that correlate with reduced levels of Vitamin D:

  • Increase in hospitalizations for asthma
  • Increased airway sensitivity in lung function tests
  • More frequent use of asthma medications
  • Increased allergy marker levels

Vitamin D and Asthma Relationship

So what exactly is it about Vitamin D-rich foods and sunshine that play such a significant role in helping you breathe?  Although the researchers leading the Costa Rica study didn't specifically define the relationship, several theories exist. First, the relationship between Vitamin D and asthma may be traced back to Vitamin D's impact on the immune system. In addition, healthy levels of Vitamin D can go a long way in preventing damage to the airway muscles and making them less reactive.

Vitamin D Sources

Further, while spending more time in the sun on a regular basis may help you reap Vitamin D's protective benefits, the experts warn that for some people, this alone may not be enough to break the Vitamin D and asthma connection, since Vitamin D deficiencies can exist even among people who live in year-round sunny climates. 

And keep in mind that too much sun can increase your risk for skin cancer, so you'll have to walk a fine line in finding the right balance.

Finally, you can always boost your Vitamin D by eating certain foods, including cod liver oil, salmon and tuna fish. You can even find milk, orange juice and yogurt that are Vitamin D enriched.

A Final Note

While more research is needed to better understand the Vitamin D and asthma relationship, the bottom line is that by becoming aware of your Vitamin D intake, you could get important respiratory health benefits.




American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine


The American Thoracic Society